Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Second Ablation

Five years ago, I had heart ablation for atrial fibrillation. I didn't realize that the rapid heart beat was coming back until I bought an Apple watch last Fall.  I set the Health app to warn me if my heart rate went above 100.  I was surprised when it alerted me a number of times when I was not active.  I knew it worked when I rode my bicycle for exercise.

On my annual heart checkup in October, I mentioned this to my cardiologist who had me wear a Zio patch heart monitor stuck on my chest for two weeks.  I had to keep a diary of when my heart raced and noted three episodes during the two weeks. During these episodes, it was my Apple watch that alerted me to make a note in the diary.  After reviewing the recording, the doctor recommended another ablation.

The ablation was scheduled for Thursday, January 4th since I wanted to avoid any complications during the Christmas holiday period.  I was scheduled for a TEE (transesophageal echocardiography) and a CT Angiogram on the day before.  I also stopped taking Sotalol, which had been controlling my heart rate, five days before.  But on Monday evening, I felt my heart race, my watch beeped and I almost passed out.  I got my Kardia device and checked my EKG which confirmed my heart rate was 224.  My daughter took me to the ER but by then the episode had passed.  I was able to email my EKG records from my iPhone to the doctor who then prescribed some Metoprolol for a few days until the ablation.

As scheduled, I went in for the ablation on Thursday at 5am.  They started the ablation about 8 am and I didn't wake up until about 4:30 pm in the recovery room.  Doctor said they worked for 6 hours, testing my heart and burning out nodes that caused the spurious episodes of rapid heart beats.  Afterwards, I couldn't sit up until 9:30 pm because of three punctures in my groin where they had pushed catheters into my femoral arteries and up into my heart.  They kept me overnight in the hospital but I couldn't sleep.  I had a roommate that had back surgery and called for pain relief every hour, plus played Netflix on his phone until 4 am. I found out that he had hearing problems.  After I got home the next day at 11am, I went to bed and slept for 6 hours.

On Saturday, I drove 30 miles to a family gathering and spent about 10 hours before driving home.  On the way home, I felt a little funny and discovered that my heart rate had been 130 during the trip.  I had a few more minor episodes since but seems be under control while I continue taking Sotalol.  Dr says that I may need more ablation in the future.